Friday 20 December, 2013
The NSW Government will extend the liquor licence freeze in Sydney's Oxford Street/Darlinghurst precinct until June 2015 due to ongoing concerns about alcohol-related harm, Minister for Hospitality, George Souris, said today.
Mr Souris said the extension will enable regulatory agencies, including police, to continue working closely with licensed venues and the City of Sydney on measures to reduce alcohol related problems including violence in the CBD.
“The Oxford Street/Darlinghurst freeze was due to expire on 24 December, 2013 but, the Government will be extending it for 18 months,” Mr Souris said.
“This follows the Government’s 12 month extension to the Oxford Street/Darlinghurst precinct freeze announced last December.
“In November 2012, the Government also extended the freeze in Kings Cross for three years until 24 December 2015 as part of its range of measures to target alcohol-related harm in that precinct.
“The freezes have been in place since 2009 to help reduce alcohol-related violence by preventing the establishment of most types of new licensed venues, extended trading and business alterations that would attract extra patrons to consume alcohol.
“The Government will not be lifting either the Oxford Street/Darlinghurst or Kings Cross freezes until it is satisfied that it is not going to contribute to further escalations in alcohol related problems.”
Mr Souris said the further extension of the Oxford Street/Darlinghurst freeze will help meet community concerns while also allowing the Government to complete and fully evaluate the trial of its Environment and Venue Assessment Tool (EVAT), an assessment process developed to assist decision-makers considering new liquor licences.
It is currently being tested to help decision-making on the future of the freeze by comparing alcohol-related statistics between the Oxford Street/Darlinghurst and the CBD South precinct where a freeze no longer applies and is due to finish in March next year.
“The EVAT tool analyses all relevant information regarding liquor licence applications to determine the risk that granting it would pose to the community to help ensure applications are considered in a measured and consistent manner with all factors taken into account.
“This provides an additional layer of scrutiny for liquor licence applications as the usual development application, community consultation and police background checks also still apply.”